Saturday, December 17, 2016

Saturday, December 17, 2016 — Topsy-turvy


I thought that today's puzzle from Cox & Rathvon would not hold you up for long from getting to your other activities — whether it be a trip to the mall or clearing the latest dump of snow from your driveway. However, the first couple of comments indicate that people seem to be finding the puzzle a bit on the more difficult side.

I invite you to leave a comment to let us know how you fared with the puzzle.

Solution to Today's Puzzle

Falcon's Experience
- solved without assistance
- incorrect prior to use of puzzle solving tools
- solved with assistance from puzzle solving tools
- solved with aid of checking letters provided by puzzle solving tools
- solved but without fully parsing the clue
- yet to be solved

Legend: "*" anagram; "~" sounds like; "<" letters reversed

"( )" letters inserted; "_" letters deleted; "†" explicit in the clue

Primary indications (definitions) are marked with a solid underline in the clue; subsidiary indications (be they wordplay or other) are marked with a dashed underline in all-in-one (& lit.) clues, semi-all-in-one (semi-& lit.) clues and cryptic definitions. Explicit link words and phrases are enclosed in forward slashes (/link/) and implicit links are shown as double forward slashes (//).


1a   Adjusted for certain // bending of light (10)

REFRACTION* — anagram (adjusted) of FOR CERTAIN

6a   Practice fighting // charges from the rear (4)

SPAR< — reversal (from the rear) of RAPS (charges; ones to be heard before a judge)

9a   Breathe like a hot dog in front of her // big cat (7)

PANT|HER — PANT (breathe like a hot dog) preceding (in front of) HER (†)

10a   Overweight friend // with a terrible outcome (7)

FAT|ALLY — FAT (overweight) + ALLY (friend)

12a   Outspoken pop star // not doing any work (4)

IDLE~ — sounds like (outspoken) IDOL (pop star)

The solution could be any pop star or it might refer to English musician Billy Idol[7] (stage name of William Michael Albert Broad) — although it may be questionable if he fits the mould of the pop genre.

13a   Deductions wrongly // marked down (10)

DISCOUNTED* — anagram (wrongly) of DEDUCTIONS

15a   On simmer, turned // wrong handle (8)

MISNOMER* — anagram (turned) of ON SIMMER

16a   Pig outside used to have // tail (6)

S(HAD)OW — SOW (pig) containing (outside) HAD (used to have)

19a   Notch the Spanish // coin (6)

NICK|EL — NICK (notch) + EL (the Spanish; Spanish word meaning 'the')

21a   More upbeat, // Cher takes in Great Lake (8)

CHE(ERIE)R — CHER (†) containing (takes in) ERIE (Great Lake)

Scratching the Surface
Cher[7] (born Cherilyn Sarkisian) is an American singer and actress known as the Goddess of Pop.

24a   Limits // on ideas rub the wrong way (10)

BOUNDARIES* — anagram (the wrong way) of ON IDEAS RUB

25a   Commend // icy shower (4)

HAIL — double definition

27a   Grades // metal in scraps (7)

RA(TIN)GS — TIN (metal) contained in (in) RAGS (scraps)

28a   Offer to sell // uranium in legal process (7)

A(U)CTION — U ([symbol for the chemical element] uranium) contained in (in) ACTION (legal process)

29a   Obscure // origin of Druidic ancient craft (4)

D|ARK — D (origin [initial letter] of Druidic) + ARK (ancient craft)

A Druid[5] was a priest, magician, or soothsayer in the ancient Celtic religion.

30a   Suggestions // on dentures changed (10)

UNDERTONES* — anagram (changed) of ON DENTURES


1d   Fixer // standing on the street with flyer (9)

REP|AIRMAN — REP (standing on the street; slang for 'reputation') + (with) AIRMAN (flyer)

2d   Last numbers // not available in records (7)

FINALES — NA (not available; abbrev.) contained in (in) FILES (records)

3d   A female // tennis star of the 1970s (4)

A|SHE — A (†) + SHE (female)

Arthur Ashe[5] (1943–1993) was an American tennis player who won the US Open singles championship in 1968 and Wimbledon in 1975, and was the first black male player to achieve world rankings.

4d   Casseroles // slip when picked up by fork prongs (8)

T(ERR)INES — ERR (slip) contained in (when picked up by) TINES (fork prongs)

5d   Workplace // removed from the rink? (6)

OFF|ICE — OFF (removed from) + ICE (the rink)

7d   Flew // parcel with motley wrapping (7)

PI(LOT)ED —LOT (parcel; a piece of land or collection of items offered at auction) contained in (with ... wrapping) PIED (motley)

8d   Sound of attack // spread outward (5)

RAYED~ — sounds like (sound of) RAID (attack)

11d   Hard questions // hogtie U. S. in new order (8)

TOUGHIES* — anagram (in new order) of HOGTIE US

14d   Model I put on // ship in a disaster film (8)

POSE|I|DON — POSE (model) + I (†) + DON (put on)

The Poseidon Adventure[7] is a 1972 American disaster film based on the 1969 novel of the same name by American author Paul Gallico (1897–1976). The film won a Special Achievement Academy Award for Visual Effects and an Academy Award for Best Original Song (for "The Song from The Poseidon Adventure", also known as "The Morning After").

The plot centers on the SS Poseidon, an aged luxury liner on her final voyage from New York City to Athens before being sent to the scrapyard. On New Year's Eve, she is overturned by a rogue wave. Passengers and crew are trapped inside, and a rebellious preacher attempts to lead a small group of survivors to safety.

Boxoffice magazine reported The Poseidon Adventure was the #1 Box Office Champ of 1973.

A 1979 sequel, Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, which was also based on a novel by Gallico, was a commercial and critical failure.

A 2005 made-for-TV version[7] differs from the original book and first feature film in that the ship capsized because of a terrorist act. The story was altered because it was felt that the original's disaster was unrealistic since a tsunami out on the open sea is only a few inches high and does not have the strength and size to seriously affect a large vessel. The 2005 film's final scenes include details from the novel of the Poseidon's sinking that were not part of the 1972 film adaptation.

Yet another version appeared in 2006. Poseidon[7] is the third film adaptation of Paul Gallico's novel and a loose remake of the 1972 film.

17d   Bombers and such // distort travel paths (9)

WARP|LANES — WARP (distort) + LANES (travel paths)

18d   Stupidly lose each // string (8)

SHOELACE* — anagram (stupidly) of LOSE EACH

20d   Mess // left aboard Coast Guard vessel (7)

C(L)UTTER — L (left; abbrev.) contained in (aboard) CUTTER (Coast Guard vessel)

22d   Certain European // boxing champ wearing one bronze (7)

I|T(ALI)AN — ALI (boxing champ; American boxer Muhammad Ali[5]) contained in (wearing) {I ([Roman numeral for] one) + TAN (bronze)}

23d   Pair is running // cooler (6)

PR|IS|ON — PR (pair; abbrev.) + IS (†) + ON (running; functioning)

24d   Made a hole // yawning? (5)

BORED — double definition

I have marked this clue as a double definition as I believe one might consider "yawning" to be a synonym for "bored" ⇒ the subject matter was very dull and soon I could see that the audience was yawning.

If you don't like that approach, then you could look at the clue as a cryptic definition:
  • Made a hole yawning? (5)
where the definition (primary indication) is marked with a solid underline and the cryptic elaboration (subsidiary indication) is marked with a dashed underline.

26d   Droppings // get lost (4)

SCAT — double definition

Unlike the previous clue, there is no doubt about the classification of this clue.


The title of today's review is inspired by 14d.
Key to Reference Sources: 

[1]   - The Chambers Dictionary, 11th Edition
[2]   - Search Chambers - (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)
[3]   - (American Heritage Dictionary)
[4]   - (Collins English Dictionary)
[5]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford Dictionary of English)
[6]   - Oxford Dictionaries (Oxford American Dictionary)
[7]   - Wikipedia
[8]   - Reverso Online Dictionary (Collins French-English Dictionary)
[9]   - Infoplease (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
[10] - (Collins English Dictionary)
[11] - (Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary)
Signing off for today — Falcon


  1. Definitely more of a challenge than last week, but still very enjoyable. 14D gave me some trouble, but once I got it, I thought it was a really good clue.

  2. Good morning,

    I also found this much more challenging than last week. I especially liked 5d and 4d took a while because I was only vaguely familiar with the word. I'm having the most trouble with 22d which I still haven't gotten.

    Thanks to C & R.

    Lots of snow here in London and I hate it.


  3. Did the puzzle early this a.m. It took longer to do than normal. There were lots of anagrams which for some reason took me longer than normal to solve. Things improved after I got 1a, 13a. 24a, and 30a.

    I felt I had all the answers but was unable to fully parse a few. Thanks Falcon for clearing these up.

  4. Enjoyed today's offering from E&H. Some great surface reads, esp 10a being favoured. 3/4 rating.

  5. Happy Snowy weekend all! (Sorry about that, Peter) Well, I really did enjoy this one very much, lots of original clues that certainly made me think. As Falcon notes, it wasn't too difficult, my hardest area was the bottom right corner.
    I thought that 23d might be an anagram, I didn't know the second meaning for 26d and I needed help getting 30a even though I had most of it in one of the iterations I was working on.
    Falcon, besides the boat flipping over as a reference to the Title, I thought the juxtaposition of 11d and 24d was also 'Topsy-Turvy'.

    1. And something that just hit me - how about 21a vs 29a/30a?

  6. Hello Falcon et al,
    I agree with Henry regarding 23d - I also thought it was an anagram clued by "running". Puzzle was not too difficult overall, last one in was 25a.

    Aloha to everyone!

  7. Hello Falcon and all,
    I enjoyed this one, with its number of nicely written clues. Like Henry, I found the lower right corner to be the most difficult area; I had trouble with the anagrams in 18d and 30a and needed all crosses to get 26a.